Saturday, May 25, 2024

Chelan City Council welcomes new code enforcement officer

Approves proposed property tax levy increase


CHELAN – City Councilmembers convened Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Council Chambers for a regular meeting. The full agenda included a variety of standardized topics under consent, public hearing, motion considerations, and administrative reports. However, the public comment segment of the session was particularly noteworthy as additional time was allowed for a presentation by the Friends of Lake Chelan. (see separate story)

First to the podium for public comment was Historic Downtown Chelan Association (HDCA) President Linda Van Lunsen. 

“I’d like to just take a moment to talk to councilmembers about … the allocation of lodging tax, the 3 percent tax,” she began, “I’m here for HDCA, but really, I’m also representing all non-profit businesses in Chelan … there’s a lot of organizations out here that have events and incredibly successful events.” Van Lunsen began describing how the town and community benefit from the events hosted by local non-profit organizations. The attraction and visitors the events bring and how the events also promote tourism which stimulates the financial vitality of Chelan.  “As you know,” she explained, “non-profits have a very limited and tight budget, we have experienced that all the time with HDCA … tonight I just want you to consider the allocation that, to my understanding has always been, presented to the chamber,” she began, referring to the 3 percent lodging tax distributed by the city.

 “This year, to my understanding,” she continued, “is going to be somewhere around $590,000 to $600,000 … I’d like for you to consider maybe entertaining the thought of setting maybe it be 10 percent, $59,000, or whether it be a fixed price, that when we go to the chamber (if that’s going to be who allocates and supports these non-profits) that there’s a little more there that can be beneficial to build up our marketing piece.”

After conclusion of the public comment segment, Code Enforcement Officer Casey Tjeerdsma, the newest member to the City of Chelan’s Planning Department, was introduced. Tjeerdsma will be focusing on business code compliance, and is a certified code inspector. 

“Casey started as the City’s code enforcement officer in mid-August,” explained Planning Director Craig Gildroy, “he comes to us after serving as a City of Burlington firefighter. Part of his firefighting duties included business code compliance.”

Tjeerdsma thanked the City and Council members for the opportunity to be working in Chelan, and began telling of the accomplishments and goals he already has for the city, beginning with the removal of broken down or abandoned vehicles along the city streets. 

“Such a great addition to our community,” added Mayor Mike Cooney, “and while I’m Mayor I’d like to see more additions to our staff like Casey.” Before conclusion of the introduction, Mayor Cooney requested that the community come forward “with anything in neighborhood that is bothersome or code infringement, they may not be code yet, but we’re looking for those things … we just want the city to be cleaned up.” 

After the special introduction of the new code enforcement officer, a public hearing was opened and City Finance Director Cheryl Grant began the request for an ordinance increasing the current property tax levy by one percent. The 2018 Property Tax Levy would increase the current rate of $1.42 by one percent to applicable tax payers. Property taxes are the primary fund of revenue for the street fund, and partial revenue fund for the City’s revenue fund. She began by explaining the current standing of the City’s funds after previous budget workshops on the street and general funds, stating the City’s current assessed value is just under $1 billion for 2018, the one percent increase would bring an additional $13,125 to the fund, with additional property taxes of nearly $52,000 from new construction, and $1,500 from refunds. After property taxes and refunds, the street fund would receive just under $50,000 said Grant. The increase “does not mean that everybody that pays taxes is going to pay more to the City of Chelan,” she explained, “what it means is we’re allowed to increase our revenue and property taxes by that amount, and then it’s parceled out by what the levy rate is, which is reset each year based on the assessed values of the properties in the city.” Councilmembers approved the request for the preparation of the new ordinance, which will be presented for approval and adoption at a later meeting date. Mayor Cooney described the property tax levy increase as “an aggregate on the total property tax and the valuation.”

Other topics discussed in the council meeting were:

• Hearing Examiner Services Agreement, retaining Hearing Examiner Andrew Kottkamp’s services through the year 2020.

• Proposed Wastewater Connection Agreement with Chelan Fruit.

• Gordon Thomas Honeywell 2018 Legislative Agenda.

• 2017 Comprehensive Plan Update Package Adopting Ordinance No. 2017-1533/2017-003J. The update included changes to the Warehouse Industrial District (W-I) permitting 18 density units per acre (du/ac) in the Apple Blossom Center as an overlay on the current 8.7 du/ac.

The next regular city council meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 28 at City Hall, beginning at 6 p.m.

Chelan, council, tax levy, Casey, Tjeerdsma, Linda, Van Lunsen, HDCA


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